We have in this central Tantric conception one side of the truth, the worship of the Energy, the Shakti, as the sole effective force for all attainment. We get the other extreme in the Vedantic conception of the Shakti as a power of Illusion and in the search after the silent inactive Purusha as the means of liberation from the deceptions created by the active Energy. But in the integral conception the Conscious Soul is the Lord, the Nature-Soul is his executive Energy. Purusha is of the nature of Sat, the being of conscious self-existence pure and infinite; Shakti or Prakriti is of the nature of Chit, — it is power of the Purusha’s self-conscious existence, pure and infinite. The relation of the two exists between the poles of rest and action. When the Energy is absorbed in the bliss of conscious self-existence, there is rest; when the Purusha pours itself out in the action of its Energy, there is action, creation and the enjoyment or Ananda of becoming. But if Ananda is the creator and begetter of all becoming, its method is Tapas or force of the Purusha’s consciousness dwelling upon its own infinite potentiality in existence and producing from it truths of conception or real Ideas, vijnana, which, proceeding from an omniscient and omnipotent Self-existence, have the surety of their own fulfilment and contain in themselves the nature and law of their own becoming in the terms of mind, life and matter. The eventual omnipotence of Tapas and the infallible fulfilment of the Idea are the very foundation of all Yoga. In man we render these terms by Will and Faith, — a will that is eventually self-effective because it is of the substance of Knowledge and a faith that is the reflex in the lower consciousness of a Truth or real Idea yet unrealised in the manifestation. It is this self-certainty of the Idea which is meant by the Gita when it says, yo yac-chraddhah sa eva sah, “whatever is a man’s faith or the sure Idea in him, that he becomes.” [CWSA 23: 43-44]
It is here that Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga steps in. It admits the Witness Purusha, the Silent Brahman and the Omniscient, omnipresent Ishwara but does not leave the world play in the hands of a mechanical prakriti and the impulsion of past karmas. Instead, it seeks to bring a change in the world play itself, alter the balance of world forces in favour of a divine manifestation. For this there is the insistence upon handing over the reigns of the play in the hands of the Divine Mother, surrendering to Her who is the Divine Shakti, the original infinite Power that has created finite worlds and beings through Her Divine Maya, the power that builds forms for the Ishwara to inhibit. Having built the forms, She energises them setting them into fixed groves of motion to keep each form and each creature in its allotted place. This is the most outward action of the Divine Power that binds and fixes all things and their movements in fixed groves of habitual cause and effect is what we call as Prakriti or Nature. But prakriti too in its depths receives the impulsion from the One Divine Power, Shakti, the Divine Mother whose Wisdom and Will provides the needed energy and knowledge for her limited operations albeit in her vast empire of the lower triple worlds of mind, life and body. Therefore, to change anything radically in nature is impossible without the sanction of the original Divine Will of which the Divine Mother is the human embodiment. Tantra which came close to this secret turned to the Divine Shakti for everything including freedom from the chords of prakriti and going beyond the names and forms built by Maya towards the utter liberation in the Ishwara.
Here in Sri Aurobindo’s Yoga which reconciled the Vedantic Yogas and the Yoga of the Tantra, one turns to the Divine Mother surrenders completely to Her to infuse this New Divine Impulsion in nature and through her into creation including matter and bodies built of the mud and clay of earth nature. It means to be free of all limits and limitations, it means endless possibilities in life growing increasingly divine, it means the direct contact and union of the Supreme as the Creator with the most material and outward aspects of creation, and not as it now is, indirectly through the veils of a limited movement and works of an inferior nature subject to the boundaries of Ignorance. This means true freedom in the highest sense that comes through the union with the Divine and in the completest sense since it would include in its scope not only freedom of the soul but also freedom of the body through its progressive divinisation. The Mother describes this as the resurrection for which creation has waited for Ages. She reveals:
Resurrection means, for us, the falling off of the old consciousness; but it is not only a rebirth, a sudden change which completely breaks with the past. There is a certain continuity in it between dying to your old self, your low exterior nature and starting quite anew. In the experience of resurrection the movement of discarding the old being is closely connected with that of the rising up from it of the new consciousness and the new strength, so that from what is thrown off the best can unite in a new creation with what has succeeded. The true significance of resurrection is that the Divine Consciousness awakes from the unconsciousness into which it has gone down and lost itself, the Divine Consciousness becomes once more aware of itself in spite of its descent into the world of death, night and obscurity. That world of obscurity is darker even than our physical night: if you came up after plunging into it you would actually find the most impenetrable night clear, just as returning from the true Light of the Divine Consciousness, the Supramental Light without obscurity, you would find the physical sun black. But even in the depths of that supreme darkness the supreme Light lies hidden. Let that Light and that Consciousness awaken in you, let there be the great Resurrection. [CWM 3: 147]
Do you know what the flower which we have called “Successful Future” signifies when given to you? It signifies the hope—nay, even the promise—that you will participate in the descent of the supramental world. For that descent will be the successful consummation of our work, a descent of which the full glory has not yet been or else the whole face of life would have been different. By slow degrees the Supramental is exerting its influence; now one part of the being and now another feels the embrace or the touch of its divinity; but when it comes down in all its self-existent power, a supreme radical change will seize the whole nature. We are moving nearer and nearer the hour of its complete triumph. Once the world-conditions are ready the full descent will take place carrying everything before it. Its presence will be unmistakable, its force will brook no resistance, doubts and difficulties will not torture you any longer. For the Divine will stand manifest—unveiled in its total perfection. I do not, however, mean to say that the whole world will at once feel its presence or be transformed; but I do mean that a part of humanity will know and participate in its descent—say, this little world of ours here. From there the transfiguring grace will most effectively radiate. And, fortunately for the aspirants, that successful future will materialise for them in spite of all the obstacles set in its way by unregenerate human nature! [CWM 3: 180]
She completes by hinting at the attributes of a body that becomes the field of the Yoga joining the two extreme poles of consciousness, the material and the spiritual, reconciling their opposition in a harmonious and victorious fulfilment of the Divine Intention in creation through our humanity.
One of the greatest victories of this ineffable humility of God will be the transformation of Matter which is apparently the most undivine. Supramental plasticity is an attribute of finally transformed Matter. The supramental body which has to be brought into being here has four main attributes: lightness, adaptability, plasticity and luminosity. When the physical body is thoroughly divinised, it will feel as if it were always walking on air, there will be no heaviness or tamas or unconsciousness in it. There will also be no end to its power of adaptability: in whatever conditions it is placed it will immediately be equal to the demands made upon it because its full consciousness will drive out all that inertia and incapacity which usually make Matter a drag on the Spirit. Supramental plasticity will enable it to stand the attack of every hostile force which strives to pierce it: it will present no dull resistance to the attack but will be, on the contrary, so pliant as to nullify the force by giving way to it to pass off. Thus it will suffer no harmful consequences and the most deadly attacks will leave it unscathed. Lastly, it will be turned into the stuff of light, each cell will radiate the supramental glory. Not only those who are developed enough to have their subtle sight open but the ordinary man too will be able to perceive this luminosity. It will be an evident fact to each and all, a permanent proof of the transformation which will convince even the most sceptical.
The bodily transformation will be the supreme spiritual rebirth—an utter casting away of all the ordinary past. For spiritual rebirth means the constant throwing away of our previous associations and circumstances and proceeding to live as if at each virgin moment we were starting life anew. It is to be free of what is called Karma, the stream of our past actions: in other words, a liberation from the bondage of Nature’s common activity of cause and effect. When this cutting away of the past is triumphantly accomplished in the consciousness, all those mistakes, blunders, errors and follies which, still vivid in our recollection, cling to us like leeches sucking our life-blood, drop away, leaving us most joyfully free. This freedom is not a mere matter of thought; it is the most solid, practical, material fact. We really are free, nothing binds us, nothing affects us, there is no obsession of responsibility. If we want to counteract, annul or outgrow our past, we cannot do it by mere repentance or similar things, we must forget that the untransformed past has ever been and enter into an enlightened state of consciousness which breaks loose from all moorings. To be reborn means to enter, first of all, into our psychic consciousness where we are one with the Divine and eternally free from the reactions of Karma. Without becoming aware of the psychic, it is not possible to do so; but once we are securely conscious of the true soul in us which is always surrendered to the Divine, all bondage ceases. Then incessantly life begins afresh, then the past no longer cleaves to us. To give you an idea of the final height of spiritual rebirth, I may say that there can be a constant experience of the whole universe actually disappearing at every instant and being at every instant newly created! [CWM 3: 175-177]